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Feminism In Othello

Satisfactory Essays
“Othello,” the tragic play written by William Shakespeare in 1601 has given a new outlook to women’s right during the time period when they had no voice to call their own. A tragic play about a jealous and manipulative man named Iago who does everything in his power to pursue and destroy the life of the protagonist, Othello. In the belief that Othello had wrongfully promoted someone else to the position that he claims to be rightfully his. In this play, unsure if this was the intention of Shakespeare, but Shakespeare’s two main female characters each embodies a completely different bias about women and feminism during the Elizabethan time period. Shakespeare encircles “Othello’s” plot and themes around its male characters all the while concurrently but indirectly shed light to the hidden anti-parallel dynamic among the livelihood of women. Desdemona, Othello’s wife, the more traditional female character, believes in putting her husband first and that love is all that matters. On the other hand, Emilia, Iago’s wife and one of Desdemona’s dearest friends, is portrayed as the stronger feminist in the play and believes in women’s right and that women are physically no different to men.
To place this assumption into retrospect, in Shakespeare time, from the 1558 to the 1600s, England society was ruled by Queen Elizabeth. Although a women took ownership of the country, in Elizabethan’s society married women and minor girls were entirely in the power of their husband and guardianship of their father. None the less, even after Elizabeth I took the throne, she was expected to wed and “have her rights to rule limited or completely take up by her husband” (Wagner, 21). Women living in a society built upon Renaissance beliefs were only m...

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...oth of its counterparts. If one is a "fool" then it will die. Thus, Iago's failure to be worthy kills her.
In conclusion, throughout the play, Emilia remained obedient and maintained her role as a wife, yet her duty as a woman became more important when her husband deceived and destroyed innocent lives. As Emilia's outspoken behavior and passionate voice grew stronger throughout the play, so should the women of Shakespeare's time. During the time of Shakespeare's tunnel-vision Renaissance England, women progressed very slowly towards a more equal position in society. Men were frightened of strong women and thus, just as Iago killed Emilia, attempted to keep them silent and in a subordinate position meant to discourage advancement. With Shakespeare as an advocate for women's voices, Emilia is able to be looked at with pride and honor rather than ridicule and disgust.
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